Opinion: Landing in a 'good spot'


Guys, I think I’ve finally landed in a good spot.

Sorry, let me start over. I wanted to take a couple minutes this week to introduce myself and tell a condensed version of where I came from and how I became the newest reporter here at the Hub City Spokes.

I came to the Petal/Hattiesburg area by way of New Orleans, where I was born and raised. My family moved to Petal when I was about 7 years old, so I’m a product of the Petal school system, elementary all the way through high school.

Oh, by the way, I’m still proud of that – when you hear people say that Petal has the best schools in the state, they’re not lying. I might not have said that while I was a petulant teenager, but hey, hindsight. Thanks for not kicking me out of your classroom many times over, Mrs. Abadie!

Anyway, after graduation, I spent a couple semesters at Jones County Junior College and Southern Miss before moving back and forth a few times between here and the New Orleans area.

Skip forward to 2005, when Hurricane Katrina paid us an unwelcome visit. After I came back home to find a water line seven feet high at my place in Meraux, I figured it was time to head back to higher ground in Hattiesburg.

I found a place in Oak Grove, got back to Southern Miss and somehow managed to attend enough classes to convince them to let me leave with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism.

A few years later, (yeah, it took me a while) I found a job in my field as a reporter at the Hattiesburg American. I know, right? I couldn’t believe it either – my meager writing skills and wannabe charm had finally paid off.

And I loved the work. I started out in sports before moving to the business beat, and in late 2015 took over as the city/government reporter. It was even cooler than I thought it would be – I had the inside scoop on everything!

Unfortunately, the corporate monster reared its ugly head in September and several of us were laid off, yours truly included.

About six months later, I’m sitting in the living room, having the usual Netflix night with the gorgeous and talented fiancé, when I get a message from Hub City Spokes editor/publisher David Gustafson.

David says: I might just have an opportunity for you, if you’d be interested in coming on board and helping out.

I says: Yes sir, please and thank you.

Two days later, I was sitting behind my new desk as the reporter for The Petal News, covering the same city and the same school system I was a part of all those years ago. Funny how things come full circle, right?

That was a little more than a month ago, and things here have been great. It felt awesome to start writing again, and it was fun to start working again with all the people I’d harassed daily while I was with the American – business owners, mayors, city council members and the like. Those guys should have known they wouldn’t get rid of me that easily.

But seriously, the atmosphere here is great, the people are great, and the work is right up my alley. Sometimes I even think I’m good at it.

This is the gig I should’ve had 10 years ago.

So thanks to David for bringing me on board.

Thanks to Beth and Buster for not throwing me out of the building when I ask daily questions that I should already know the answers to.

Thanks to Whitney, Brittany and Kacey for putting up with my ineptitude with technology, social media and payroll issues.

And thanks to Shannon, Lesley, Robert, and Zachary in the sales department.

You guys are all cool.

And thanks to the readers. If you keep reading my stuff, I’ll keep putting it out and pretending like I know what I’m doing.


Haskel Burns is the newest member of the HubCitySPOKES news team. He and his fiance’, Heather, live in Oak Grove.